LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – HBO has renewed “True Blood” for a fourth season, beginning next year. As with Season 3, it ordered 12 episodes. Though ratings for Sunday’s episode are not yet available, last week’s third-season premiere drew 5.1 million viewers — up 38% from the Season 2 opener.
Wellington Phoenix will remain in the A-League for the next five years, following speculation the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) would force it out of the competition.
The New Zealand club said Tuesday that Football Federation Australia (FFA) had confirmed its eligibility for the A-League until the end of the 2015-16 season.
Doubt over the Wellington team’s future emerged in November when AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam said he did not support the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) club remaining in the Australian competition beyond 2011.
The FFA competition comes under the AFC but doubts about Phoenix’s participation were put to rest after a meeting between OFC president Reynald Temarii and Bin Hammam last month, when the confederation bosses agreed that the Phoenix should continue playing in the A-League.
“This is great news,” said Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata.
“We’ve cleared this hurdle in terms of extending the club’s participation in the A-League and we’re going to be around for many years to come.”
The Phoenix’s case had been strongly supported by the FFA and chairman Frank Lowy, as well as by New Zealand Football and the Oceania confederation.
“While we had this issue, there was uncertainty hanging over us and the fans regarding how long we would be around,” Pignata said.
“Now that it’s been resolved we can get on with the job of continuing the great strides that have been made building a strong and successful club.”
New Zealand’s only fully professional football club reached new heights in its third season, reaching the A-League’s preliminary final before losing to eventual champions Sydney FC last month.
Melbourne, Sep 18 (ANI): It seems budding actress Eva Amurri is following in her mother Susan Sarandon’s footsteps, for she is playing the role of a student who turns to stripping in the latest series of US hit show ‘Californication’.
Sarandon was known for doing similar roles more than 20 years ago- in ‘The Hunger’ in 1983, she dropped her clothes for a controversial lesbian love scene with Catherine Deneuve and has never shied away from nudity in films.
And now Eva, 24- born from Sarandon’s relationship with an Italian director during the Eighties- is kick-starting her own acting career in a racy guest appearance on the show.
She stars as Jackie, a student who moonlights in a strip club, during the third season of the show starring David Duchovmy, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The show sees her writhing around Duchovmy’s college professor character Hank Moody, peeling off a corset to dance for him topless.
And later, she is shown at his place taking their relationship to the next level. (ANI)
Islamabad, Aug.30 (ANI): After having helped the Pakistan cricket team win the ICC World T20 Championship, famous psychotherapist and hypnotist Maqbool ‘Max’ Babri has expressed his interest in holding training sessions for the troubled Indian Premier League (IPL) team, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to change its fortunes.
Babri has written a letter to KKR owner Shahrukh Khan and the team’s former captain Sourav Ganguly’s brother, Snehashish Ganguly, expressing his desires to be KKR’s ‘mental’coach and ‘thought manager’ for the third season of the IPL.
“I will very much like to be a part of your team as a thought manager and mind coach. People think I am a magician, but I must confess that I am not a magician but certainly what I do appears to be like magic and transforms people to really excel in what they do and makes them happy and buoyant,” Babri stated in his letter.
Interestingly, Babri had predicted that Pakistan, which was considered underdogs in the tournament, would win the T20 World Cup after spending six days with the team ahead of the event.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had appointed Babri to help players cope up with pressure and perform well in the T20 World Cuo after the team’s dismal show in previous events and lack of international exposure due the refusal of foreign teams to visit Pakistan citing security reasons, The Nation reports.
Babri is regarded highly in the Pakistan team, with former coach Geoff Lawson describing him as a ‘terrific asset’ for the squad. (ANI)
New Delhi, Aug.21 (ANI): The Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday said that all of its players must make themselves available for their national teams as a condition for joining the league.
The organizers said no player would be allowed to play in the IPL if he skipped an official test or limited-overs series with his national team in order to join the competition.
IPL chairman Lalit Modi said all national cricket boards have been informed of the new regulation.
The IPL has also set August 25 as the last date for all of its eight franchises to disclose the contracts they have signed with various players. The IPL said it would ‘update the player registry and publish a final list of registered players with the league on August 27.’
The IPL also advised it franchises to deal directly with players, and avoid using agents for hiring players.
The third season of the IPL will be held from March 12 to April 25. (ANI)
Lahore, June 23 (ANI): With Pakistan pocketing the ICC World Twenty20 Championship, speculations are rife that Pakistani players would once again feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Several IPL franchises, who had signed Pakistani players for their respective teams, are hoping that the players would return for the third season of the IPL in 2010, after heightened tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack, forced the players to sit out of the cricket extravaganza this year.
One of the players, Sohail Tanvir, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, could don the navy blue jersey once again, when his side takes on Middlesex at Lord’s in a one-off game scheduled to be held on July 6.
The Rajasthan Royals co-owner, Manoj Badale said Tanvir’s participation in the match is ‘subject to his availability’.
The match which is being organized by the British Asian Trust, would be held two days before the first Ashes Test starts.
Pakistan would also begin its tour of Sri Lanka on July 4, but that would not affect Tanvir’s outing with the Royals, as he is not a part of the Test team.
However, another Rajasthan Royals Pakistani player, Kamran Akmal, would not be available for the Lord’s encounter, as he will be on national duty.
The IPL chairman Lalit Modi has also made it clear that the league has ‘no problem’ letting Pakistan players play in the next edition in March 2010.
Modi, however, noted that it is for the governments of the two countries to decide to let the players play.
While the IPL franchises had signed 11 Pakistani players in the league’s first season, contracts of only four players were retained in the second season. (ANI)
London – We’ve been here before. English domination of Europe is becoming a habit.
Statistics don’t always tell the full story, but in this case they are incontrovertible.
For the third season running, three of the Champions League semi-finalists come from the Premier League.
In the past five seasons, the Premier League has provided 12 of the 20 Champions League semi-finalists while Spain, in the same period has yielded four semi-finalists, Italy two and the Netherlands one.
Not since the 2007 final, when AC Milan beat Liverpool, has an English side been eliminated by foreign opposition.
Barcelona remain favourites with the bookmakers, understandably so, given the scintillating form that has given them a six-point lead at the top of the Spanish table, and saw them demolish Bayern Munich 4-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final.
The one doubt is their defence, which has looked shaky at times and suffers from a lack of practice given how Barca tend to dominate possession.
“(It will be) very tough,” said midfielder Frank Lampard.
“Everyone is tough now, but probably no one more so than them.
“They have got some outstanding individuals and probably the best player in the world in (Lionel) Messi.”
Chelsea’s cause will not be helped by the suspension for the first leg of left-back Ashley Cole, who would have been the man to mark Messi.
Arsenal, who lost to Liverpool in last season’s semi-final, face United. When they met in the Premier League in November, Arsenal won 2-1 in a classic.
Arsenal are unbeaten in 18 domestic games, and the return of the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott from injury has given them momentum.
“It will be a difficult game because Arsenal have a lot of big players back and they are in great form,” said United full-back Patrice Evra.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is relishing the reawakening of a rivalry with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson that stretches back over a decade.
“It is a test, but it is a challenge you relish and we are excited about that,” he said.
“What will important against United will be the form of the day.
“Both teams have the same programme – a game in hand to play in the league, a cup semi-final, so how much we are physically okay might have an impact.
“That’s one of the great things about these type of games – they are not predictable.
“You can say that Manchester United are an attacking team so it should be a good game but sometimes, you can cancel each other out.”
Either way, there will be at least one English team in the final, looking to make it three English winners in the past five years. (dpa)
Miami – Andy Murray edged closer to a world number 3 ranking as he became the only man on the ATP to earn three titles this season through a 6-2, 7-5 defeat of Serb Novak Djokovic on Sunday at the Miami Masters.
The rapid-fire win in one hour, 42 minutes added the Masters 1000 honour to Doha and Rotterdam titles won since January by the 21-year- old Scot.
Murray now stands 26-2 on the season as he prepares for a quick turnaround on clay, with Monte Carlo starting April 12.
Murray owns victories in three of his last five starts at the elite Masters level, winning Cincinnati and Madrid back-to-back last season and playing the Indian Wells final against Rafael Nadal a fortnight ago.
“I’m competing on the world stage and try to improve my ranking,” Murray said. “The clay season will be very important for me. On clay my game has not been the same as the top guys. I need to improve my game on clay.”
The world number 4 is fast-closing on Djokovic after claiming the 11th title of his career.
Only 170 computer ranking points separate Murray from Djokovic. The Scot will drop a mere 520 points between Monte Carlo starting next weekend and Roland Garros, while Djokovic is losing 2,800 points in the same period.
“I was the biggest enemy to myself. I was struggling again and adjusting to the heat,” said Djokovic, 2008 Australian Open winner. “I’m not really satisfied with the way I played today.”
Murray dominated the opening set in 33 minutes, putting it away on his second opportunity as he pushed across an easy overhead.
Djokovic began to feel the heat at the start of the second set after committing 16 unforced errors in the first. The Serb lost serve in the opening game, then called for a visit from the trainer.
Told that nothing could be done about his discomfort with the spring heat, he soldiered on, breaking Murray for the first time in the afternoon for 1-all.
“That’s just the way it is. I can’t fight it, it’s been this way for awhile,” said the Serb who has withdrawn ill during matches at three of the four Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s spirits rose with the scoreline as the third seed claimed a 4-1 lead before Murray responded. The Scot saved a pair of Djokovic set points in the ninth game, with the Serb double-faulting on the second.
After levelling at five games apiece, Murray regained the game that took him through the first set, breaking for 6-5 and ending the afternoon in first net point and the 43rd unforced error from Djokovic.
“It was hot out there,” said Murray.
“I was a bit out of breath, but I could look at the other end and see Novak was struggling. That makes a big difference mentally. He’s been struggling with the heat more this year. I’ve seen him play four-five hours at the US Open in these conditions. But he’s still a great player.”
New York, Mar 25 (ANI): Jennifer Hudson is returning to ‘American Idol’ to perform for one night only, according to sources.
According to reports, the Oscar-winning actress and singer will be making a special appearance on the highly-popular Fox series, reports the New York Daily News.
Sources say that she will perform not live, but in a taped segment to appear in an upcoming episode.
This would mark Hudson’s first major television appearance since the brutal murder of her mother, brother and nephew in Chicago last year.
The 26-year-old rose to fame during the third season of ‘American Idol,’ but was voted out, despite being the favourite to win. (ANI)